GW operating without annual budget, officials given ‘provisional’ authority

The Board of Trustees has not approved an annual budget for this fiscal year, which began July 1, and instead provided officials “provisional budget authority” due to fluid operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said officials are working “closely” with the Board of Trustees in financial planning efforts as the situation evolves. She said officials are expecting an annual revenue shortfall of more than $100 million as a result of the pandemic.

“We are proactively reimagining how our university will operate more efficiently and strategically in our COVID-19 world,” Nosal said in an email. “Budget planning is being approached in a different manner than in previous years.”

The Board typically approves the following fiscal year’s budget at their May meeting but delayed the vote this year because future changes in fall scenarios could change the budget by hundreds of millions of dollars.

“We are working diligently to ensure long term financial stability for the University,” Nosal said. “As with many institutions across higher education, GW has experienced significant financial impacts due to the global pandemic.”

She added that officials are conducting a “comprehensive review” of the University’s finances and administrative organizational structures, which will ensure GW is “best positioned” to fulfill its core mission.

Officials have previously warned that layoffs and furloughs are inevitable.

University President Thomas LeBlanc and other top administrators are taking a pay cut in addition to freezes on most hirings, merit salary raises for faculty and staff and most capital projects.

“As President LeBlanc shared recently, under the best-case scenario, we have an estimated significant impact on the budget with a gap of more than $100 million between expected revenue and expenses,” Nosal said. “We are working diligently to ensure long term financial stability for the University.”

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